Posts categorized "food & cooking"

cake decorating with baby pom pom trim

The baby pom pom trim has been restocked at Ribbons Galore.


I received a question regarding the pom pom trim via the Ribbons Galore Facebook page.... could the baby pom pom trim be used on a cake board? As it happens, I have used this trim to decorate a cake board, so thought I'd show some pictures here.

My daughter wanted a blue marbled iced cake for her birthday last year.

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The cake board was edged with the white baby pom pom trim. I used royal icing, which I piped onto the edge, then stuck the pom pom trim to that. Once the royal icing was set (dried) the trim stayed in place during the party.

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The cake board I used was approximately 4mm thick, and there was a thin layer of fondant icing covering the board. The baby pom pom trim fitted neatly on the edge.

Here are a few more close up shots...

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Quite often you will see ribbon used to edge the cake boards, but the baby pom pom trim gives a different look, and adds a little fun to the cake.

Thanks for visiting...




free tickets to better homes and gardens live in sydney


 Discover all you need for your ideal home

at Better Homes and Gardens LIVE

14th to 16th September 2012 at Sydney Showground, Sydney Olympic Park 

Here are the top ten reasons why you can’t afford to miss Better Homes and Gardens LIVE:

  1. Shop gadgets, accessories, tools, gifts and home wares from 350+ hot brands.
  2. Watch the experts in action with some essential DIY and renovation projects.
  3. Supercharge your imagination with inspiration and new ideas from celebrity experts.
  4. Don’t miss the very latest releases from leading brands and specialist retailers.
  5. Join all your favourite Better Homes and Gardens experts for a packed schedule of live workshops and demonstrations.
  6. Explore a whole new way to decorate for style and comfort in the Home Zone.
  7. Give your taste buds a treat with delicious free samples and recipe ideas in the Food Zone.
  8. Discover green fingers you never knew you had in the Gardening & Pet Zone.
  9. Enjoy colourful displays and stock up on fabric, wool, paper and essential accessories in the Craft Zone.
  10.  Make it a day to remember with a celebrity encounter – Tara Dennis, Rob Palmer, Fast Ed, Dr Harry, Jason Hodges, Graham Ross and Johanna Griggs will all be there.          

 With 100s of products & 1000s of ideas for renovators, foodies, DIY and craft lovers, gardening and interiors addicts, Better Homes and Gardens  LIVE is the ultimate home & garden destination.

Tickets on sale now!  Visit to buy tickets now & save.

BUT... I have 20 FREE double pass tickets to give away to the Better Homes and Gardens LIVE show. If you would like a double pass (that's two tickets) to this event, please send me an email.

ETA: All tickets have now been given away. Thank you to everyone who emailed me and left a comment here on the blog for tickets. I hope you all have a wonderful time at the show.



when life gives you basil.... make pesto


I returned home from my parent's house recently with a huge bag of basil... beautiful fragrant lush green basil. When I'm in possession of such a large quantity of fresh basil (whether I've grown it myself or raided my parent's herb garden), there is only one thing I can think of to preserve it, MAKE PESTO!

Pesto... It is a delicious combination of basil, garlic, toasted pinenuts, parmesan and olive oil, and it is VERY VERY VERY EASY to make.


Basically this is how it's made. Wash the basil and carefully inspect for any freeloaders looking for a free meal (those little green caterpillars can be tricky to find on the basil). Toast the pine nuts. Grate the parmesan cheese. Peel the garlic.


Throw it all in the bowl of a food processor and blitz. Drizzle in the olive oil.

Many recipes will say to pick the leaves from the stalk and only use these in the pesto but I use the whole thing, leaves AND stalks. The stalks have the same lovely basil flavour as the leaves, and you will dramatically increase the amount of pesto you will make using the stalks.


Pack the pesto into little containers and drizzle some extra olive oil over the top (this stops the pesto from turning brown).


And this is the preserving part, the pesto freezes really well, so all that lovely summery basil goodness is now in my freezer ready to use when we need a quick tasty meal. If you've packed it into smaller containers, such as half a cup, you can defrost just enough for dinner.

I have to say, I love having my iPhone in the kitchen to be able to take quick photos on the go :)

Thanks for dropping by.



fiona's choc chip health snacks [recipe below]

I've been making this recipe for a little while now. {In my opinion} its a delicious and healthy snack, full of goodness, protein, fibre, lower in sugar (the white sugar type)... and it's delicious :) It makes a good morning tea for the girls to take to school and it's a nice snack with a cuppa for afternoon tea... it gets me through the afternoon without snacking before dinner.


I tend to make this recipe up as I go along, and have been wanting to write it down. I've finally done that, so here's the recipe.

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1 cup SR wholemeal flour

1 cup puffed quinoa

1/2 cup puffed amaranth

1/2 cup ground almonds or oatbran (or another dry ingredient that you like)

1 cup shredded dried coconut

1 1/2 cups mixed dried fruit

1 cup really nice dark chocolate (chopped roughly)

2 teaspoons mixed spice (I used a teaspoon of ground cinnamon and a teaspoon of freshly grated nutmet).

1/3 cup chia gel **(see below)

1/2 cup rice malt syrup (or use maple syrup)

4 eggs

1-2 teaspoons vanilla



Mix all the dried ingredients together in a large bowl. Beat the eggs, chia gel, rice malt syrup and vanilla together. Add to the dried ingredients and mix well.

{Note: the mixture should be a little sticky and moist. If it seems dry, add a little more chia gel.}

Use a 1/4 cup measuring cup to scoop the mixture into baking trays. Bake for about 20 minutes (or until lightly browned) at 170 degrees Celsius.

Allow to cool on a cooling rack and enjoy!

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How to make Chia Gel

Mix 1/3 cup of chia seeds and 2 cup water together in a bowl. Whisk the mixture together to stop the chia seeds from forming clumps. Leave to stand for about 20 minutes, while the seeds to absorb the liquid. Your can substitute the chia gel for oil/butter in recipes. The gel will keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks. You can read more about chia gel on the Chia Co website.



Enjoy and thanks for visiting.


Fiona x

Better Homes and Gardens LIVE Melbourne ticket giveaway

The BHG LIVE show is coming to Melbourne! It's on 24-26 February 2012 at the Royal Exhibition Building, Carlton.

The three day event will host four stages, with live demonstrations from the Better Homes and Gardens TV experts, plus there'll be over 300 companies exhibiting at the event. You can read all about the show on the Better Homes and Gardens LIVE website.

To my Melbourne readers, start planning your day, cause I have 10 double passes (a total of 20 complimentary tickets) each valued at $40.00 to give away.

If you live in Melbourne or will be in Melbourne town on the weekend of the show and would like a couple of tickets, please send me an email.

Enjoy the show :)





mini bunting cake decoration

I offered to make a cake for Phoebe's soccer team last Sunday, with only a few hours to make, bake, cool and decorate the cake.

I decided I needed a simple, very quick and easy decoration for the cake and turned to my paper crafting skills.... to make mini bunting for the top of the cake.

To make the bunting, first I printed out the wording I needed for the bunting, cut it out (twice as long as I needed each letter). I folded each letter around the bakers twine, and stuck these together with a little double-sided tape. To finish I trimmed the bottom each of each letter flag with pinking shears for the zig-zag effect. Then arranged the spacing between the wording.


I doubled the bakers twine to give a little more thickness. This eco cotton cherry bakers twine is from Ribbons Galore. The mini bunting was tied to the wooden skewers (didn't have time to find anything else). And then the bunting was placed onto the iced and decorated cake.


I'll share the details of the cake. I used a new recipe for this cake. It's the rainbow cake recipe from the latest Donna Hay Kids Magazine (Annual 8, 2011).

You can find the cake picture on page 87 and the actual recipe on page 92. One big thing I did differently was to bake my cake in one large rectangle cake tin (22cm x 23cm cake tin), Donna baked her recipe in two 22cm round tins. I cooked my cake for about 20-30 minutes longer.

The cake mixture is huge, in my KitchenAid the mixture came to the top of the beater.


I tried to make one part of the cake red with the Wilton Christmas Red colour gel, but the colour still came out pink. Another third of the mixture is make into a chocolate cake mix (directions in the recipe) and the last third of the mixture is left uncoloured. The three cake mixes were layered in rows across the cake tin.


... and mixed together with a tooth pick and handy helper (who I'm sure was just waiting to lick the bowl!)


Ready to bake....


The cake was iced with a basic vanilla butter cream and decorated with red raspberry lollies (cause kids always like the lollies, even big kids in the U14's).

This is all that was left from the evening team gathering....

The cake this size served 30-35 people. It was a delicious cake, quite moist, I would highly recommend it... it will be going into my small but very trusted cake repertoire for reliable and delicious cakes.

Thanks for visiting.


Fiona x

when life gives you lemons... make lemon cake

I recently received a huge bucket of lemons. These lemons came from my parents lemon tree which obviously experienced a very good season and some tender loving care from my father. There was a abundance of lemons; lovely, uneven, spotted, unglossy, bright yellow, juicy, full of seeds lemons. They were beautiful, I love home grown foods and I'm now suffering from a severe case of lemon tree envy! I'm going to plant one somewhere in our suburban garden VERY SOON.


In the mean time I have had my bucket of lemons sitting in my kitchen. I have used them in marinades for grilled chicken. I have used them in a lemony, basil pasta dish which is a family favourite. I have used them to make lemon cupcakes with a lemony ricotta "frosting". I've juiced and zested some and have that in ice-cube trays in the freezer ready to use when they are out of season (if it lasts that long).


Last weekend I decided to make a lemon cake. Since having kids I've not been too adventurous with cake flavours, it's mainly been chocolate cake, chocolate cake and more chocolate cake, cause that's what we all eat. Before kids I would make all sorts of cakes, so I thought I'd offer the family a new flavour.


I set about searching for a lemon cake, and decided to use a basic butter cake mix which I flavoured with lemon juice and zest. I also subsititued some of the flour for almond meal (something I do often when baking).


Here's my recipe:


170g butter, softened

1 1/3 cup caster sugar

4 eggs

1 1/2 cups self raising flour

1/2 cup almond meal

2/3 cup milk

1 1/2 tablespoon grated lemon rind


Preheat over to 150 degrees C.

Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until creamy. Add eggs, beat until just mixed. Add flour, almond meal, milk and lemon zest and beat until combined on a low speed. Continue to beat until mixture is "smooth" (if almond meal has been used, it won't look like your traditional smooth butter cake mix, it will be a little lumpy).

I used a 22cm square cake tin, lined with baking paper. Pour cake mix into tin.

Bake for about 1 hour 10 minutes (test, and start checking the cake after an hour). Cool and turn out onto a cake cooling rack. Ice with a lemon icing (recipe below)


The icing is a basic icing which large pieces of grated zest.


1 1/2 cups icing sugar/icing mixture

2 tablespoons of lemon juice

1-2 teaspoons of lemon zest (depending upon how lemony you like it)


Sift icing sugar in a blow. Mix in lemon juice and zest until smooth. Cover cake!


It was lovely and lemony, you really couldn't detect the almond meal, but it gave a slightly moist texture to the cake. The girls started out slicing small slivers of the cake to "taste", then started taking it to school for morning tea. It was a success, I'll be making this one again (while I have my juice and zest supply in the freezer).

Thanks for visiting.




june = birthdays = cupcakes

Who really needs an excuse to make cupcakes? Not me, but a birthday in the family gives me a great reason to start up the KitchenAid and start baking in bulk.

Phoebe requested rainbow cupcakes for her birthday (for the soccer team, for school and for the school soccer team... thank goodness basketball training was called off or that would have been another lot}. My gorgeous girls like to set me challenges when it comes to their birthday cakes. Rainbow cupcakes is probably one of the good ones, not necessarily hard but a bit fiddly.

Phoebe chose the colour, but I limited her to three colours as I figured it would be impossible to layer a full selection of rainbow colours in a little patty paper of about 4cm tall. Pink, green and blue where the chosen colours.

Now going back to when I was a kid I loved marble cakes, remember the cakes with swirls of colour in them.  I loved when you cut into them each piece was different cause of the way the colours were mixed. These rainbow cupcakes were going to be made using the similar method, with the coloured mixture being layered, not swirled.

I made up my batch of cupcake mixture. Divided it into three batches and coloured each one. I used the Wilton icing colours (rose, leaf green and royal blue colours), these are a concentrated gel so you can get a strong colour but the mixture doesn't get too watery as it would with regular food colours.



I layered the colours into the patty pans...Fec-blog-cupcakes-1


And baked. 20 mintues later they were done....Fec-blog-cupcakes-4

Then iced in plain vanilla buttercream {no colour added!} And yes, the cake below does have pink at the bottom, I did mix the layering up in a few batches.Fec-blog-cupcakes-5

Done! The looked bright, colourful and happy, perfect for a June birthday.

Another birthday celebrated with cupcakes.

Thanks for dropping by.



mini gingerbread houses and christmas truffles

Here's a couple of little handmade goodies I have made over the last few days.

Mini gingerbread houses. I wanted to make some little houses as gifts this year. After searching around for some house templates, I found these cute little houses by Megan Rearon of the Not Martha blog. Megan made her houses small, so they perch on the side of your hot chocolate mug. Megan's Gingerbread house template makes tiny little houses. I enlarged her template 140% to make my little houses below. (I didn't cut the little slots from the sides, leaving the sides of my houses whole). The houses were decorated with royal icing and sweets, then wrapped in celephane with a ribbon.

Fiona Carter's mini gingerbread houses 
Fiona Carter's mini gingerbread houses 
Fiona Carter's mini gingerbread houses 
Fiona Carter's mini gingerbread houses 

Christmas truffles. I don't make truffles very often, but this year I wanted to make some rum balls. Again I went searching for recipes and found a rum and raisin truffle which appealed, as well as a couple of other recipes. 

Fiona Carter's Christmas truffles 
Fiona Carter's Christmas truffles

Wrapped in celephane and tied with Ribbons Galore ribbon :-)

Fiona Carter's Christmas truffles

The truffle recipes I made are:

I hope you have a very merry Christmas. Thanks for visiting my blog over the past year.


Fiona x  

sydney to dubbo {via bali}

It seems like a long, long time ago, but Sydney, Bali, Dubbo was our itinerary last school holidays.

The first week of the school holidays was spent in beautiful Bali. It had been almost 18 years since my last visit (that was on our honeymoon). Bali had changed, alot, but it was still beautiful.

I have many of our photos in a flickr album.


One special group of photos I've placed in a COLOURS OF BALI album. I created this little collection of photos because Bali is so vibrant, I wanted to capture some of the colour that surrounds you there.

A few special things I'd love to mention about our holiday:

Our accommodation in Canggu, SABA VILLAS. Absolutely stunning. We stayed in a two bedroom villa, with our own pool. Total relaxation. I wanted to pick this place up and bring it home to our little plot of land in Sydney! Below is our pool and villa at night, more photos of the villa can be found HERE.

Saba Villas, Canggu

Our accommodation in Ubud, KAJANE MUA VILLAS. A beautiful, beautiful place in the Ubud style. Again our villa was lovely with our own pool. Although the villa complex is on Monkey Forest Road, our two bedroom villa was right up the back of the property with rice paddies around us. This was the pool area of our villa, more photos of this villa can be found HERE.

our private pool at Kajane Mua villas, Ubud

The Bali Elephant Safari Park, out of Ubud, where we had the most marvellous morning feeding the elephants then having a ride through the park and forest. Here's Em with one of the baby elephants, more photos are HERE.

Bali Elephant Safari Park, Ubud, Bali

Kafe cafe, this was a great find amongst all the hustle and bustle of Ubud. Probably the best coffee we found in Bali. Delicious organic meals and juices.

Gaya Galato {part of the Gaya complex}. Oh, my goodness, I would travel back to Bali just to have this gelato again. The gelato at the bottom was Spiced Chocolate gelato, one of the best flavours of gelato I've ever tasted. This was well worth the short trip out of Ubud to taste this gelato. They also sell cookies and biscuits. These guys should write a cook book, cause I'd make every cookie they were selling! They do offer home delivery, not sure this extends to Sydney :-(

gelato from gaya gelato, ubud

Ubud markets, alot of fun, alot of interaction with the stall holders {and bargaining}. These markets are much better than those we found in Semenyak or Kuta.

On a slightly more serious note:

There was one slight emerency on our Bali holiday. During a visit to Monkey Forest in Ubud, I was bitten and scratched by one of the monkeys. Without going into many details of the following couple of days, I had to try to find two different rabbies vaccines which I needed to receive within a few days of the bite. Rabbies is a big problem in Bali at the moment and one of the vaccines required after a bite is very hard to find in Bali and is very expensive once you do find it. Anyway we did find the vaccines in an international clinic in Kuta and have continued to receive the rabbies vaccine back here in Australia (the course is given over 28 days). My arms were like pincushions during this treatment, but hopefully all will be well. I'm just writing about this to let others know. Monkey Forest is a big attraction in Ubud, would I rush back there next time... no way, the monkeys are cute but certainly not worth the trouble they caused.

We returned to Sydney from Bali, had 24 hours at home to un-pack, wash clothes, re-pack and leave for Dubbo.

We went to Dubbo for Phoebe. She was picked to play in the Far North Metro team at the Soccer NSW State Titles, which were being played at Dubbo.

We had a great week, Dubbo is a fantastic country town and we certainly enjoyed our week there. We did watch a lot of soccer, sitting on the sidelines. The girls on the team had a fun week together, and played some fantastic soccer. Their team came fourth overall.





While I was in Dubbo, I had a chance to meet up with Narelle, Neek and Leah one afternoon. It was so lovely to have a chat with these gorgeous ladies. We chatted for so long, the cafe closed around us, and the owners showed us the back gate exit, saying we were welcome to sit there as long as we liked. We did stay for quite a while longer chatting away....


Emily and I did visit the Dubbo Zoo one afternoon. One of the first areas we visited was this {not so little} baby hippo...


Then the gorgeous giraffes...


And we found some more baby animals...


One our way home we passed these beautiful fields of rape seed. We could see the fields coming from far away with the specatular colour...


We returned to Sydney exhausted, but happy, after a varied holiday. We probably needed another holiday to recover from this one, but it was straight back to work and school....

And that's our last holidays summed up. It's take me several weeks to finish this post, but it's finally done and published!

Thanks for visiting. Will be back very soon with some Ribbons Galore updates.